Product Reviews24th October 2013
SLFirst reviews the world's first silent alarm vibrating wristband - the ZBand
Huge advances in technology have brought with it great opportunities for the introduction of equipment that makes life that little bit easier for deaf people. Go to any business event that Deaf and Hard of Hearing people are specifically invited, and you will find long queues of people seeking help, support and advice in respect of the array of equipment that is now available. From hearing aids, to fire alarms, vibrating alarm clocks to bluetooth TV amplifiers, the range of equipment can be mind blowing, especially for the older generation.
Which one is right for me, is the number one question. That got me thinking. I can't give advice about the right choice for individuals, but I could undertake a review of equipment to see what I make of it. The launch of the new digital magazine provided the ideal opportunity to start, and that just left one thing to sort out. What should I review first.
As a Deaf woman, one of the issues I had growing up was the issue of being woken in the morning. Having mum or dad come in to shake me worked, but it prevented independence and meant they had to get up too. In recent years, vibrating alarm clocks and mobile phones have provided alternatives, but when I learned about a new product called the ZBand, I thought it was the ideal first product to be subject of the SLFirst Product Review.
The Zband is made and sold from its base in Dublin, Ireland. It is available in the UK through the ZBand website, but it has not been marketed here yet, and is not available through any other retailer. Having got in touch with the team in Dublin, I was pleased to receive my ZBand in the post 2 days later. My vibrating alarm looks like a white fashion watch, but instead of a watch face it has a small black box, with a push button centre marked with the letter Z. The instructions were included in the box and I set to work immediately to start the trial.
The first job was to charge it up using an android phone charger. I expected this to take hours, but 20 minutes later it was ready to go. I was easily able to download the free app that is required from the Google Play Store available on all Android phones, and that gave me access to the programming system for the ZBand.
Following the simple step instructions, I was able to pair the ZBand with the phone, which then allowed me to programme it. This was really straightforward and took a matter of minutes despite this being the first time I had used it. I was able to set it up to my personal habits, setting the alarm for 7am but then wanting to snooze for 30 minutes before getting up at 7.30. The ZBand was programmed to snooze for those 30 minutes giving me a gentle reminder every 10 minutes.
With the ZBand on my wrist, I felt a gentle vibration when I finished programming it, confirming that the alarm had been set. The following morning I was woken with a gentle vibration to my wrist, it was quite pleasant and strangely brought a smile to my face. Every 10 minutes after I had a reminder vibration until I got up. Turning the alarm off just required a push and hold of the Z for 3 seconds.
Whilst I ordered the ZBand to assess it as an alarm clock, I know that I will use it for a lot more than that. I notoriously leave for a business meeting with a minute to spare and I will use the ZBand to vibrate 10 minutes before the latest point I can leave, so that I can get a little more organised and take the stress I currently have out of my journeys. I also make lots of arrangements to have Facetime/Skype discussions, and I will use the ZBand to remind me of things I have to do throughout each day. Because it is worn on the wrist and just provides a gentle vibrating reminder, I know that it will not bother people around. If you are the type to have a power nap in the day, this is also a great way to wake yourself up after the 20 or 30 minutes needed without anyone else knowing.
The ZBand looks trendy on the wrist and I can imagine that it will also become a talking point which I might use to my advantage when business networking. There is also a range of advice on how to use the ZBand on the website, including video demonstrations. It is not yet available to work with Apple products, but that is planned in the future.
Ease of Use (out of 10) - 9.7
Price - (approx £39) 7.9
Functionality - 9.3
Overall - 9
You can buy the ZBand or find out more information on the company website at www.zband.biz or click on the advert alongside this article to go straight to the website.
Article by Sarah Lawrence
posted in Technology / Product Reviews
24th October 2013